About this time last year, my left achilles popped. Well, made a loud noise and felt like an elastic band being twanged. My achilles twanged. I had been celebrating my friend’s birthday Vietnamese style, eating dinner on the floor, sat cross legged or kneeling. I’d probably ran earlier and coupled with the sitting for so long my calves were stiff. Really stiff. To ease the stiffness, I did a few rounds of sun salutations and just as I was lowering my heels, it twanged and this time hurt. A few summers previous walking up stairs after my morning run and walking my hands back to my feet it did the same. In the back of my mind I knew it wasn’t right, but it calmed down. 3 years later it wasn’t calming down.
I knew this time it was serious, it felt tender. Under Paul’s suggestion I went to see an osteopath who worked some magic, only for me to return the following Monday after a weekend numb feet. My back was clicked in 3 places and there started the roller coaster of osteopath visits, knee problems and back to beginner level. Having never had by back clicked before I wasn’t prepared for what hit me. I was out of it for about 3 days, tingles all over and slept most of it much to D’s disapproval (he’s a persistent cat for his dinner). My body was resetting itself. Paul was away for 3 months, I had 88 steps to climb everyday but somehow with a lot of whinging and freak outs* I got through it. I was a broken record for a while (I’ve learnt people will only put up with that for so long) and a regular at the osteopath. I should have got 10% off each session the amount of times I went!
The main cause of why it popped I still don’t know. It probably has something to do with having bow legs. My left tibia and fibula at the knee are unstable and this travels down the leg. I was around that time doing a lot of HIIT workouts putting extra stress on achilles. Too much and it had enough. I was banned from working out for 6 weeks. It was frustrating being out. Even yoga was out. 6 weeks of just walking and the stairs and even that hurt. I used to dread walking up the stairs with the shopping. I’d shuffle up and down them like an old lady!
Psychologically was the most difficult. Going from being very active to nothing was tough. Not even a bike ride. My body changing was the hardest. I could feel my strength and my bum and arm tone going. It was hard seeing others running and working out. I felt left behind. I remember the day after one osteopath visit walking back from the beach my knees started burning and feeling like they were going to give way. When I was given the go ahead to start working out again, it was at beginner level. No twisting, no jumping, no running. My knees and legs itched as blood re-found pathways to supply oxygen and nutrients to my muscles. Cycling came before running and even that was hard. I couldn’t believe how weak I was! Some rides my knees were so painful I had to walk. My first 2km run, I was completely out of breath and thought my knees were going to give way when I stopped! It took about 5 months until my body settled down and run without something hurting. 8 months until I was happily doing lunges hops. 11 months start doing yoga how I did before injury. There were some days I thought I’d never be back to running or burpeeing.
I’m still not 100%. I have to see an osteopath every month to check everything is how it should be. If I do too much, it gives me warning shots. I have to wear insoles to help correct balance (which I have a love/hate relationship with. No sandals, no heels, must have a lace. I can pick a great outfit and ruin it with plimsoles. Many shoes are left sadly in the shelf as the insoles are a half size) and still can’t get through yoga without thinking ‘careful!’. I still haven’t walked my hands back to my feet. I am however running further than pre injury, I’m cycling more than I used too, I’m burpeeing, I’m practicing handstands, I’m squat jumping and plank twisting. I can stand on tip toe to reach things again. I’m stronger. I’ve learnt and I’m learning. Our bodies are amazing at healing.
For anyone injured and feeling like the end of world. It isn’t. Give your body time to heal, time to repair, let it rest, listen to it and when you’re ready, you’ll come back stronger physically and mentally than before.
Never give up.
* A big thank you Paul and the cats for being there and putting up with me.